SFC Kelly Chartier, US ARMY Reserve
Kelly joined the Army right after high school as a Bradley Mechanic. After his initial entry training he was stationed at Ft. Sill, OK working on MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) vehicles. After spending three years of active duty stuck in the same spot with nothing going on, Kelly left the military. After 9/11 he was motivated to get back in and had an opportunity in 2005 when he joined the Army Reserves as a Combat Engineer. Kelly deployed for 18 months to Fallujah, Iraq in 2006 becoming an Explosive Ordnance Clearance Agent (EOCA). For most of his tour he drove a Husky mine clearance vehicle performing Route Clearance operations. Kelly found 38 IED’s and three found him. The third time Kelly’s vehicle was hit by an IED it split it in half; he was knocked unconscious and had hairline fractures in his back and ribs. Kelly received a Purple Heart and through his long recovery, he remained in the military. Next, deployed to Jalalabad, Afghanistan in 2010 he was doing the same mission but was now in an administrative leadership role. Kelly felt it was so much more stressful being stuck on base not having that adrenaline release of being in the action and decided to change his MOS (job description) in 2013 to Biomedical Equipment Technician (repairing and calibrating medical equipment). Now he had skills that could transfer to a good civilian career.
The school was 11.5 months long and Kelly was the Distinguished Honor Graduate of his class. He was put on orders to be a subject matter expert at the Medical Equipment Consolidation Site (MECS) for the 88th RD and that translated into the Army Corps of Engineers creating a civilian position for him as a Program Manager/COR. Kelly is currently the only government personnel managing the MECS88 facility and supervising the contract personnel.
Kelly grew up racing and riding dirt bikes with his dad who was in the Air Force. Riding desert races helped him greatly with his ‘never give up attitude’ and pushing his physical and mental limits in the military. Kelly uses motorcycles as stress relief and says the longer he goes without riding the crazier he feels. Kelly said, “I don’t know where I would be or how I would manage my stress if I didn’t have that escape.”
Kelly and his dad, Kerry are the first father and son veteran team to join VCR.